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S. Korea picks up four medals on first day of short track championships

South Korea earned four medals, including two titles, on the opening day of the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, on Friday.

Park Seung-hi and Shim Suk-hee swept up gold and silver medals in the women's 1,500 meters, the first race of the day. Then in the men's 1,500m, Sin Da-woon and Kim Yun-jae also went first and second. 

In the women's race, Park came in at 2:23.634, with Shim just behind at 2:23.755. Shim took the lead midway through the race, but Park charged out in front with two laps left and stayed ahead the rest of the way.

In the men's competition, Sin led six skaters with 2:27.062, followed by Kim at 2:27.101. A third South Korean, Noh Jin-kyu, ended in sixth place at 2:28.149.

In the day's final race, South Korea qualified for the final in the women's 3,000m relay with the fastest time in the semifinals. 

The foursome of Park Seung-hi, Shim Suk-hee, Kim Min-jung and Choi Ji-hyun posted the time of 4:15.233. 

The final for the relay will be held on Sunday, the last day of the championships.

On Saturday, the finals for the men's and the women's 500m and the semifinals for the men's 5,000m relay will be held.

South Korea, one of the great short track powers, has produced nine of the past 10 men's overall champions and seven of the past 10 women's overall champions. 

Skaters earn points by making the finals in individual events, with 34 points for the winner, 21 points for the runner-up and 13 points for the third-place skater, and so forth.

The competition also holds 3,000m super finals for both men and women, open to the top eight skaters in points after the end of all individual races. (Yonhap News)